The Committee traditionally conducts most of its work through its mailing list – with 143 messages sent on average each month, with a marked increase in workload from 67 messages in January to 334 in December. This year a heavier reliance was placed on in-person and voice meetings – with one in-person meeting and half a dozen Skype/Webex calls in the second half of the year – and direct outreach to future or possible affiliates through travel.
The road from Chapcom to AffCom
The year 2012 was started with on-going housekeeping from 2011: the resolution recommending the approval of Wikimedia Kenya was under consideration by the Board, the resolution to change the rules of procedure of the Committee were approved after months of discussion, introducing term limits and the freeing up of five Committee seats for new selections. While change of rules was only ratified by the Board of Trustees in March, a call for Candidates was issued for new members.
Ting Chen, then chair of the Board of Trustees, Miloš Rančić and Bence Damokos, Chapters Committee members visited Zagreb to meet the local community. The local volunteers had registered a non-recognized and mostly dormant Wikimedia Croatia NGO. During the visit we agreed on ways to revive the group and start them on the way of recognition as a chapter, however the group did not meet its commitments.
Planning was also begun for a in-person Chapters Committee meeting with the aim to on-board the newly selected members, discuss the consequences of the Movement Roles recommendations and secondarily, to meet representatives of chapters-to-be at the Berlin Wikimedia Conference. A budget request was submitted to the Board of Trustees, and coordination began with Wikimedia Deutschland, the organizer of the conference to provide the venue, and with the WMF travel coordinator to arrange travel.
In January the Committee dealt with the application of Wikimedia Kazakhstan and an issue concerning Wikimedia Mexico's leadership. We have received news that the future Wikimedia Slovakia was incorporated against the Committee's advice to wait with doing so until they meet the requirements of chapterhood.
In February the Board has recognized Wikimedia Kenya as a chapter, noting that they needed more time to review the Committee's recommendation for the lack of unanimous voting on it (4 members not cast votes), showing that inactivity of Committee members was beginning to undermine the effective functioning and legitimacy of the Committee.
As a first step in solving the membership activity problem we have begun selecting 5 new members based on 11 applications that we have received. The new members would join the Committee at the planned end of March in-person meeting, adding an urgency to the selection process.
Movement roles discussions on the recognition of three new models of affiliation were on-going with the participation of the Committee. Open questions included the nature of the groups, the role in mentoring them to be played by the Chapters Committee and the proposed Chapters Council.
In February Ting Chen and Bence traveled to visit a community meeting in Slovenia on the anniversary of the Slovenian Wikipedia. During the visit Bence has explained the requirements of becoming a chapter or a user group (the model still to be officially approved at the time), with the user group model felt as a better first step for the community due to their size. (The Slovenians although not formally organized have great successes in creating educational programs, and the anniversary has garnered considerable media attention. As a result of the connections made during the visit the local Wikipedians' spokesperson was invited to the Wikimedia Communications Committee, and three committee members were invited by Wikimedia Hungary to a Budapest meetup to share experiences.)
During this month, an information request from Egypt was handled by the Committee, and there was slight progress made with the new application of Wikimedia Brasil. The Brasilian chapter was recognized in October 2008, however, it was never formally established and the Chapters Committee has proposed that it no longer be considered a chapter in April 2010 (following an unsuccessful attempt in May 2009). While the Board had moved only in March 2012 to officially change the status of the original Wikimedia Brasil chapter, the group had not been included in official chapter counts since 2010. A new effort for recognition as a chapter was started and is currently slowly on-going.
March has been a great month of transformation for the Committee with new members being added, an in-person meeting held and the Board adopting resolutions changing the nature of available affiliations and the scope of the Committee.
On March 8th 5 new members joined the Chapters Committee: Galileo Vidoni, Lodewijk Gelauff (selected for a new term), Maria Sefidari, Bengt Oberger and Tomasz Kozlowski. At the same time Delphine Ménard, a founding member of the Committee whose term as member has expired was appointed a non-voting adviser. Nathan Carter, Austin Hair and Vladimir Medeyko left the Committee.
Bence attended the first General Assembly of Wikimedia Slovakia in Bratislava. The group is currently too small to meet the requirements for chapterhood, the user group model under discussion at the time seemed like a good alternative.
Towards the end of the month, before the annual Wikimedia Conference, the second in-person meeting of Chapters Committee was held in Berlin. The meeting included a brief training session for new members on Committee procedures, a join session with the members of the Movement Roles group present in Berlin to discuss the new models, followed by discussions on the details of the recognition processes for the new models, the Committee's resource needs and standards of activity. On the following days, members of the Committee participated in the chapters meeting and had a number of discussions with invited representatives of chapters-to-be (including Wikimedia Kazakhstan and Brazil).
In April the Committee interacted with Associació Amical Viquipèdia seeking recognition as a thematic organization and the future Wikimedia Nepal. Vladimir Medeyko, a former voting member was added as a non-voting adviser and the charter of the Committee, marking the official transition from Chapters Committee to Affiliations Committee was drafted and shared for internal consideration at the end of the month.
Following on the discussions at the in-person meeting, a budget request to cover the Committee's expenses and a expanded "pipeline" for handling affiliate applications was submitted for members' consideration. In addition to the internal tasks, the Committee provided advice to Wikimedia Serbia on their planned bylaw changes and followed up with the organizers of Wikimedia Belarus and Wikimedia Ghana.
In June Galileo, Maria and Delphine attended the Iberoconf'12 conference in Santiago de Chile where they had talks and provided bylaw drafting advice to groups from Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil, and discussed with their representatives the current status of Wikimedia Mexico and Venezuela then going through finalizing the registration processes with the local authorities.
The following week, Galieo visited a meeting of the future Wikimedia Uruguay in Colonia del Sacramento, where the members planned to review their draft bylaws and elect their first provisional board.
Regular committee work continued through helping the future Wikimedia Ghana set up a mailing list and provided advice to proposers of a South Korean chapter.
July was the last full month of the Chapters Committee. At the beginning of the month Bence visited the WMF office where the status and small amendments to the Committee's Charter and budget were discussed and submitted to the WMF Board.
The following week Lodewijk and Bence attended Wikimania, where a huge bustle of activity ensued. Committee members attended the Wikimedia Chapters Association's meeting, talked with the proposers of WikiVoyage, Wikimedia Armenia, Wikimedia Nepal, a proposed user group at the DC Public Library and participated in the meeting of Communications Committee members. Bence gave a presentation on the work of the Committee and the new models of Affiliation.
Regular Committee work included the review of Wikimedia Bolivia's bylaws and first contact with Wikimedia Medicine (later renamed Wiki Project Med).
Interaction with Wikimedia Medicine continued.
In connection with the budget, the internal processes on spending were developed and the final steps were taken on the road towards becoming the Affiliations Committee with a Skype meeting on thematic organizations and the Board approving the new Charter on 20 August.
In the remainder of August the freshly renamed Affiliations Committee held a further Skype meeting on thematic organizations, appointed Arne Klempert, former board liaison as adviser and prepared a standard of participation for Committee members.
Background work on the details of recognizing user groups and thematic organizations continued through a Skype meeting and the development of the various portals and policy pages on Meta. Internal work included the adoption of the internal process on spending and the appointment of Maria as Treasurer, as well as the internal standards of participation that define minimum standards for members (like participation in voting and mailing list discussions) and penalties for not meeting them.
With the creation of the relevant policies and Meta pages, the Committee dealt with a big number of applications, including contacting Amical, Wikimedia Medicine, a Munich User Group and a proposed Wikimedia Indigenous Languages thematic organization.
Ting Chen of the Board of Trustees and Bence participated in WikiConference Yerevan 2012 in Armenia at the invitation of the local chapter-to-be, where they gave presentations on the work of the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia chapters. (The participation of Bence was slightly constrained due to severe diplomatic and political tensions between Hungary and Armenia.)
As a matter of regular Committee work applications of Wikimedia Medicine, WikiVoyage, Wikimedia Bolivia and a proposed Indian user group, Wikipedia Club India were handled. Contact with Amical was again attempted, since there had been no reply to queries on meta and via email the previous month. The Committee also supported the extension of the recognition period of Wikimedia Bangladesh while it is pending incorporation.
In November Lodewijk travelled to Belgium to interact with the local volunteers about the possibility of setting up a national chapter.
As part of the committee's outreach activities regarding new models, a blog post was published in four languages on the Wikimedia Blog, which was later reposted on the blog of Wikimedia Germany, as well.
As part of handling regular applications the Committee interacted with the Wikipedia Club India application, provided information about the Chapters Agreement to Wikimedia Venezuela and to Frank Schulenburg about the affiliation process for the spun out Canada/US Wikipedia Education Program. After still not being able to get any replies on meta or contact the appointed liason of Amical, the Committee contacted an Amical staff member, and interaction was finally established and the application proceeded.
In December the Wikimedia User Group model was extended to include MediaWiki Groups and Quim Gil was added as an observer and adviser on the MediaWiki Group applications to the Committee. Quickly following the adoption of the model, three groups applied to be recognized as MediaWiki Groups: Mediawiki Group San Francisco, Promotoion and Ahmedabad. A further two groups, one for Esperanto Wikimedians and the other for Greek Wikimedians have also contacted the Committee in December.
The committee continued handling the applications of Wikimedia Uruguay, who have requested help with funding the translation costs for their bylaws and other start up expenses, and the planning group for Wikimedia Ghana. As part of internal housekeeping the process for spending was updated, and the membership terms of sitting members was extended until the new members for the committee were to be selected in early 2013.
- Approval of Wikimedia Kenya – December 2011 resolution
- Amendment of Rules resolution
- Resolution:Amendment to Chapter Commitee Rules of Procedure
- 2012 call for candidates
- Resolution:Recognition of Wikimedia Kenya
- Resolution:Approval of Wikimedia Brasil
- Advice to the Board of Trustees concerning Wikimedia Brasil – April 2010 resolution
- Rescission of Wikimedia Brasil recognition – May 2009 resolution
- Resolution:Revision of open-ended Chapter approvals
- Membership March 2012 resolution
- Vladimir Medeyko as adviser – April 2012 resolution
- Affiliations Committee Charter
- 2012/13 Budget
- Chapters Committee: pst, present and future presentation
- Resolution:Affilitions Committee Charter
- Appointment of Arne Klempert as adviser – August 2012 resolution
- Treasurer and spending authorization – September 2012 resolution
- Committee standards of participation
- The Wikimedia Movement is facilitating new volunteer organizing models blog post
- Neue Beteiligugsformen fur Freiwillige in der Wikimedia Bewegüng blog post
- Proposals on Mediawiki.org
- Update of Internal Process on Spending – December 2012 resolution
- Membership extension resolution
- Call for candidates